Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Purposes of Nesting

I've been thinking about the nesting instinct recently. (Surprised?) I still don't think it's hit me as hard as it hits some women, but I've had a few twinges. There was, of course, the incident with the toothbrush and the chest freezer. This morning I tacked some window sills and the toy kitchen with soap and water to try to get the pencil, pen, marker and crayon cleaned off. (I had mixed success and have renewed my vow to disallow markers and crayons in the living room.)

It occurs to me, once again, that having such things clean doesn't really make a difference in the health or safety of soon-to-be-born Fourth Baby. What exactly is the purpose of nesting? I suppose there might have been a time when people didn't keep their homes very clean at all, so a general sweep, dusting and washing really did make a difference. Though my house isn't as clean as I'd like on a regular basis (a deficiency I hope to tackle in the next year with the help of A Mother's Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul and a regular cleaning schedule), it's quite clean enough to ward off disease. I had a few other thoughts, though, that seem to make more sense in our current situation.

1. So Mom can look around a room without sighing and crying about the state of the walls while nursing a little one. (Not that she won't find a hundred other reasons to sigh and cry.)

2. So the kinds of tasks that aren't done on a regular basis (like polishing the hutch) can wait a few months after the baby is born before being tackled again.

3. To keep Mom's thoughts and body occupied with something besides the baby who has not yet decided it is time to be born.

4. To empty the house of unnecessary clutter so there's room for the baby crib, co-sleeper, baby swing, bouncy seat, play-yard, diaper pail, second changing table, and other such paraphanalia baby seems to require. (It's a good thing we don't own all of those things as my minimal nesting hasn't included any de-cluttering worthy of mention.)

5. So Mom can go to the hospital to have baby in relative peace, without despairing of the state of her home when her mother or mother-in-law is watching the older children.

Anyone else have suggestions?

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